Saturday, June 24, 2017

Clown Car

After my traumatic experience with Henry the rooster, I thought it would be best to seek an alternative method to get the chickens from the coop and into the freezer. Nancy did a little googling and found a small country meat processor not too far away. They were very helpful, even offering advice on how to transport the chickens.

Following their advice, I woke up at 04:00 and headed to the chicken coop with our medium size plastic dog kennel. With calm assurance, I visualized plucking the chickens from the roost and placing them in the kennel with no issues. Well, as I quietly walked up to the coop door, one of the roosters lit up with a huge cock-a-doodle-do! Great, now they are all awake! I quickly turned off the outside security light and waited a few minutes to let them quiet down. Sure enough.

As I opened the coop door, I realized it was now too dark inside and I couldn't see a thing. Looking for a work-around, I found if I ducked down low I could see the silhouette of the roosters' comb against the dim predawn light coming from the windows. One by one, I collected the roosters and stuffed them in the kennel. Thank goodness, no big issues.

Being fairly sure I had seven roosters, I went to move the kennel onto the Jeep's hitch rack. Oh my gosh! That kennel now weighs like 60 pounds! As I tied the kennel down, I see three roosters just staring at me through the wire door. They sat in there, not moving or saying anything, looking like they knew exactly what was going to happen all too soon. I couldn't take it, so I went inside and tried to eat breakfast. Not feeling very hungry, I just had some coffee. Before I was even ready, it was time to take the roosters to the processor.

I was greeted by two very friendly guys. One guy, I'm sure with great understanding of the emotional trauma I was enduring, tried to make small talk about his Jeep and mine. The other guy walked up with two big bird crates and told me to put the birds in there. He told me to be careful because they may try to fly away. Yeah, I mean, who wouldn't try to fly away right before... you know. As I began to take the roosters one at a time out of the kennel and place them in the crates, it was like a nightmare. One by one. They just wouldn't stop coming out, like clowns from a clown car!

Saturday, June 17, 2017


Yesterday. I cleaned out the hutches and did a little housekeeping on the bunny box. Ends up there are seven beautiful bouncing baby bunnies in the box with eyes open, and some adventuring out into the big(ger) new world. All appear to be in great health. Sexing and naming will be in a couple days. A cup of coffee says it will be 4 does and three bucks. We'll see!

To make it an over-the-top day, one of the hens popped out the first egg! Not sure who it was, but one hen gave kind of a peculiar look when she was asked about it. Nancy said the egg was small, light brown, and kind of heavy; maybe it was egg concentrate?

Thursday, June 8, 2017


Oh my, what a beautiful morning. The sun rising brightly over Lake Michigan, casting it's rays through the forest's new leaves with bright green splendor. The cool, moist morning air, a comfortable porch chair, steam gently rising from a warm cup of coffee. Ah, life is good... until its time to butcher the chickens!

I know, I know! This day has been coming since the day the fluffy little chicks arrived, but who thought it would come so soon? The Rhode Island Red roosters are as handsome as ever, but man, are they getting mean! And the crowing? Wow! I think we are going to have some angry neighbors if I don't do something, and I mean, right now. It's time to separate the men from the boys.

The dilemma, at least in my mind, has been how I am going to do this. After much research, it seems the cone method may be the most respectful way to dispatch the chicken, but the hatchet and stump method is so popular. Then there is the "broomstick" method. Pondering this for quite a while, I realized my sharp ax was at work and I haven't made a cone yet, but I do have a long metal rod. Hmm. Taking a deep breath, I grabbed a rooster and the metal rod. What followed next is now just a black, foggy, personally traumatic experience I will not soon enough forget.

Following the 'execution' of the broomstick instructions, I quickly found myself staring down at one part, and holding up the other part. All of a sudden, and much to my surprise, my end began wildly flapping its wings. In amazement, I quickly let go. As I stood there, I observed the headless chicken fly away. Then it went to the ground, jumping and flapping like - yes - a chicken with it's head cut off! Then, like in a bad horror movie, the icken jumped up and flew right at my face! My hypothalamus quickly kicked in with Walter Bradford Cannon's described response signals to my pituitary gland and adrenal medulla. Without even thinking, I swatted the icken away with great speed and force. The icken then flew and jumped down a small hill behind the barn and ran right into an opening in the big log pile and out of sight. In the sudden silence, I stood there in amazement and shock and thought, "Oh great! Now what?"

To make a long story not so long, the end of the day found a plastic bag in the fridge containing two chicken breasts and two drum sticks. Later in the evening, I opened the fridge to get a beer, thinking some ethanol might help me to the end of this traumatic day. Then I see it. On the plastic bag someone wrote, "Henry, 6/6/2017"

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Cigar Box

June 2, 2017 was just another day, other than the fact we became grandpa and grandma again! Well, sort of. Betty, our awesome black New Zealand rabbit, became a mom to what looks to be eight beautiful bouncing baby bunnies. We haven't got a solid count yet due to giving Betty some privacy and recovery time. Identity crisis resolved. Happy birthday bunnies! So where's the cigar box?